I haven’t written anything about our Soca Warrior players in the MLS since the International break due to school taking up a lot of my time as well as I’ve started back job hunting. I’m back now, hopefully to keep the content flowing. To start off, let’s review how our boys have been doing since the break.
Kevin Molino In A Groove
Since the international break, Kevin Molino has been on somewhat of a fine run of form at Minnesota United, who have finally started to make some headway in their inaugural season. Since returning to Minnesota, they have moved out of the cellar of the Western Conference, tallied a 2-1-1 record, including finally getting their first win in club history against Real Salt Lake. In Molino’s first game back against RSL, he had a goal and 2 assists on the day (he could’ve had 3 but he got greedy), and picked up another assist against Houston Dynamo in a 2-2 draw. He’s been seeing more of the ball lately, getting involved in the playmaking and getting more of a feel of his teammates and his performances have definitely improved because of it. Look for him to keep the play up throughout the season.
Link to Kevin Molino Highlight vid: https://streamable.com/s/bei5f/zdhryk
Kenwyne Finally Gets To Start, Scores His First MLS Goal, But Asad Doesn’t Trust Him To Score Another
When Josef Martinez injured his right quad back in March, you’d figure it was finally Kenwyne Jones’ time to shine. Sure enough, after being subbed on in the two games after the international break, the 32 year old striker finally broke into the Starting XI for the first time against Montreal Impact.
Receiving a beautiful ball from Hector Villalba, Kenwyne had room to run and smashed in his first MLS goal. Although Atlanta United would go on to lose the contest 2-1 to Impact, the fans and Atlanta United awarded his efforts by naming him the team’s Man of the Match.
He didn’t get on the stat sheet in his next start against Real Salt Lake, but he did play 89 mins, which tells me that he is match fit and healthy and will be ready to go if and when Tito Martino requires his services, whether he starts or coming off the bench. He could’ve had himself another goal if Asad chose to pass the ball to an open Jones who had an open net in front of him. For one reason or another (I call foul), Asad chooses to shoot around a fallen keeper and score the goal for himself.
While his hold up play may not always work with Tito’s need for speed in his system, he proved that he could contribute when given the looks. Hopefully we can see him do more backflips for ATL in the future.
Europe Has Eyes On In-Form J.J., But The Sounders Are Still Looking For Wins
Joevin Jones has still been a bright spot in what has a been a slow start for the defending MLS Cup champions; 2-2-3 overall and 1-2-1 in their last four games since the break. The left touchline still belongs to Jones however, with 7 successful tackles and 6 clearances on the defensive side since the break and picking up an assist (resulting in an Ashley Cole OG) in a strong showing during the win against the Galaxy.
All this while rumors swirl that some top European leagues have taken an interest in the 25 year old LB/Winger. It’s been said that teams from La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga are interested but nothing official has been reported as of yet. Maybe as we get closer to July the rumors will hold truth. This could be his one and only opportunity to get a stint in Europe as it’s unlikely that he’ll be leaving MLS to play in Europe past the age of 25. In the meantime, he’s focused on getting the Sounders back into the playoffs for another shot at the cup.
Depleted Midfield Means More Cato for San Jose
It’s been a rough start for the Earthquakes this season. Injuries to the back four and midfield have set the team back some but still manage to hold on to 6th place in the Western Conference. However, this allows T&T national Cordell Cato to finally get his legs warm and see the field, starting with being subbed on against Joevin Jones’ Sounders.
A strong 24 minute showing and being credited with an assist (more of a “hockey assist” but ok) he broke into the starting line-up for the first time this season in the next game against FC Dallas.
He also had this attempt that just went over the bar:
In his most recent game in a loss against the Houston Dynamo, Cato played all 90 mins, and sees his attempt shot go wide at the post:
With the injuries to San Jose, Cato will be seeing more of the field and is expected to start in the next game against Molino’s Minnesota United. He’s looking to impress and keep his spot in the XI for the weeks to come as San Jose look to bounce back and get more Ws this season.
Mekeil Williams and the Rapids are Not Where They Want To Be
An injury to usual starter Axel Sjoberg has thrusted Mekeil Williams into the starting left back position but the Rapids have since dwelled in the cellar in the early stages of the MLS season. After getting his first start in a 2-2 draw with Minnesota United, the Rapids have endured a 3 game losing streak since the international break. Williams has not looked his best in that stretch with poor performances against Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United in their 2nd go-round. In my eyes he’s playing too high up (granted to provide support for the attack), but, especially in the SKC game, he got caught on the counter and not transitioning back to the defense in time to help curb it.
Williams needs to pick it up defensively so that he could stay in the XI. If things keep looking bad for the Rapids, they’ll have to make some changes in order to see themselves out of the bottom of the West.